Stress from the pandemic has weighed heavily on expectant and new mums and this Women’s Health Week, Gidget Foundation Australia is urging women to check in on their health and pick up the phone if they’re not feeling okay.

Dave chats with Michaela Durrant from the Gidget Foundation Australia who explains  why telehealth is critical in supporting the mental health of expectant and new mums.

With telehealth providing vital services to Australians throughout the pandemic, new research reveals that Gidget Foundation Australia’s perinatal telehealth counselling is delivering equal to, if not improved results compared with face-to-face treatment. However, despite fears the pandemic will leave long-term mental health scarring, the government is set to cease Medicare-rebated telehealth services for Australians in metro areas on Sept 30.\

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has seen Australian service providers turn to telehealth solutions to deliver vital services to those in need. Despite Australian’s mental health in a state of despair, the government is set to cease Medicare-rebated telehealth services for metro Australians on Sept 30. However, the number of Medicare-rebated psychologist sessions will be extended from 10 to 20 for those living in a declared lockdown area.

This was welcome news to the Gidget Foundation Australia who are striving to have a 20 session ‘Perinatal Treatment Plan’ standardised across the country. Currently delivering their perinatal counselling via telehealth new research evaluating their telehealth program reveals that the service delivers perinatal psychological treatment with equal to, if not improved results, on clinical screening measures compared with face-to-face.

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Since May 2018, Gidget Foundation Australia’s Start Talking telehealth program has been delivered into every state and territory in Australia. While regional and remote communities often lack the resources to offer specialist face-to-face support, those living in metro areas also face challenges accessing in-person services, due to factors such as birth trauma and surgical procedures.

The evaluation reveals that Start Talking also saw 15% more postpartum clients. With no need to leave the house, wake the baby or stress about packing the baby bag, the flexibility and convenience of telehealth is ideal for postpartum parents.

During Women’s Health Week (7th – 11th September), and with quality telehealth services more readily available than ever before, Gidget Foundation Australia is encouraging expectant and new parents to check in on their health and pick up the phone if they’re not feeling okay.